December 24, 2014

Race and the V-neck sweater.

I'm in Austin (Texas) shopping, and the young, white saleslady wants to help me. I'm looking for sweaters for 2 young men, men in their early 30s. I'm not seeing anything I like at all. Everything looks oversized and boxy. She pulls one out that she thinks might be suitable, but then says in a somewhat apologetic tone: "It has a V-neck."

ME: Is there something wrong with V-neck sweaters? People have some kind of problem with V-necks? What's that about?

SHE: Well, my husband doesn't like them. But he's black.

ME (resisting the urge to say "Black people don't like V-neck sweaters?"): V-neck sweaters... are... square?

53 comments:

FleetUSA said...

I'm always amazed at what comes out in response to a simple question

Bob Boyd said...

A v-neck with shorts is the new look.
You might even be able to find a one piece. Wouldn't that make for a merry Christmas!

Rae said...

Saleslady thought bubble: "Oh shit! I got a blogger! What now? Anything I say will be used against me..."

Saleslady words: "It has a v-neck..."

Saleslady thought bubble: "I said the wrong thing!"

Laslo Spatula said...

This is no doubt Part One of "The V-Neck Monologues."

I am Laslo.

Lyssa said...

My husband doesn't like v-necks, either. I've always assumed that it was just his personal preference, though.

Rocketeer said...

Well, that's a weird Austin liberal humblebrag credential-trumping non-sequitor. Bet she awkwardly injects that into every conversation she has with a stranger, whether it's apropos or not (in this case - NOT).

JHapp said...

Maybe the V-neck preppy look is not appreciated by some blacks.

Jason said...

Get back home, Loretta.

Bob Boyd said...

Nothing will get you shot by the police quicker than a V-neck sweater. There's even a term for it. Its call "WAVN while black."

Big Mike said...

Your chest hair can show with a V-neck.

mikee said...

Up here in Round Rock, TX, the conservative sensible antonym suburb to Austin liberal city weirdness) I prefer cardigans, which even my wife says are too stodgy.

Harumph, harumph.

Larry J said...

Sounds like she's assigning her husband's dislike of V-neck sweaters to his race. Has she asked other black men if they also dislike V-neck sweaters? Correlation doesn't prove causality, especially when you're talking about a dataset of one person.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

V-neck sweater leaves open the upper chest and neck. Good way to catch cold on a windy day. Inferior design.

SFAIK, works the same regardless of 'race.'

gerry said...

Laslo is good, as usual, but Bob Boyd's "WAVN while black" won the thread, I think.

Christy said...

Some think v neck sweaters are gay. NTTIATWWT. Her black husband was entirely a propos; black is code for not gay. She was being extremely tactful. Was the sweater softly tactile?

libertariansafetyguy said...

There is a great pic of George W Bush playing golf in a v-neck sweater and a t-shirt (no collar). That may be why they don't like it in Austin. Or maybe Austin is just weird.

lemondog said...

Square?

Laslo Spatula said...

Speaking of 'V's and clothing: this makes me think of the current men's jeans commercials (Wranglers?) depicting, side-by-side, their jeans with what I assume are Levis, with a line drawn on each to show that their crotches are a 'U' shape, while the Levi's crotch is a 'V' shape.

Clever. The Levis are shown as the jeans for those men without a lot to put in the pinched crotch, while theirs will certainly fit your BIG BALLS. Also, the 'V' at the Levis crotch can't help but associate with the 'V' for vagina: Levis for emasulated men. Advertising at its most precise.

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

"The Levis are shown as the jeans for those men without a lot to put in the pinched crotch,"

Probably to avoid "Manspreading."

Chuck said...

We'd need a spreadsheet to keep up with the number of microaggressions in this post.

paminwi said...

Our family discussion about this: Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Belair wore v-neck sweaters. He was kind of a "white" black so maybe he set the stage for "real" black people not liking v-necks!

Just one family's thoughts!

Fred Drinkwater said...

I think y'all have been hitting the Christmabs eggnog a bit early, judging from the overall tone of the thread. NTTAWWT.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hmm. Evidently, so have I. Preview is you rfiend.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Sigh.

lemondog said...

Uh...oh...
V-neck

The Cracker Emcee said...

When I hit 50 I started wearing cardigans. They're comfortable, easy to adjust for temperature, and I just don't give a shit what people think about the way I dress. Plus I think they send some kind of extremist White Power vibe so that's pretty cool too.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Cardigan or swastika tattoo on the neck? Signaling can be a subtle art.

Bob Boyd said...

Interpreting the V-neck fashion statement:
A V-neck sweater says "fraternity rape culture."
Unless its paired with shorts, in which case its saying, "I've never belonged to any group or organization and all the contacts in my phone came with the phone."
If its a one piece V-neck and shorts, its saying, "I've devised my own medication regimen and I'm satisfied with it."

Anonymous said...

V-necks? Greg Gutfeld and TV's Andy Levy go back and forth about them often on redeye.

Oh -- and Rocketeer's comment about Austin liberal humblebrag credential-trumping non-sequitor is eminently accurate. I lived in Austin in the '70s (and still claim it as home), went to UT there for a bit, and one thing about Austin (based on my periodic visits back there) is the d-bag quotient has certainly gone up exponentially.

(I've been going back and forth with the capcha, so I apologize if there have been multiple posts of this item)

EDH said...

Only if you have one of those Italian Horn necklaces.

n.n said...

My husband is black. He doesn't like V-neck sweaters. Whatever will my black husband wear?

Maybe the dingo ate your baby.

traditionalguy said...

The V neck shows the shirt off, and then you need a nice clean shirt too. Turtle necks can look nice under sports coat, but why not show off a nice clean shirt?

The Amish have it all wrong. Mens clothes are for showing off.

J. Farmer said...

The biggest drawback to the v-neck is that you have to be cognizant of what you wear underneath it, as opposed to the crewneck, which typically covers any undershirt you may be wearing. In my opinion, a v-neck only looks good layered on top of a collared, button-down shirt.

William said...

I prefer the cardigan but you have trouble unbuttoning it when wearing a fanny pack. A sweat shirt is the ideal garment. Not only is it stylish and fashionable, but the soft absorbent fabric makes it an excellent substitute for a napkin when you're eating BBQ.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well the white saleslady liked blacks enough to marry one. I might tend to absolve her of any racist thoughts. Or at least I'd give her the benefit of the doubt.

And besides dreadlocks look terrible with a V neck sweater. Just pulling your chain Ms. Althouse. Every blogger is entitled to a weak moment in selecting material--and this is one such moment for you.

Anonymous said...

To me, that's the beauty of the Nehru jacket.

Stylish yet authoritarian, a little hip but dangerous like some cast-out French intellectual.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Here you go for $395.

C Hopkins said...

Saleslady needs a block of instruction. She should've lead with the v-neck angle: "Here's a v-neck!"

She showed defeat. Her tone was undoubtedly the result of so many rebuffs, which makes it odder that she brought up race (even if it was relevant it shouldn't be part of the pitch).

Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...

V-necks are manspreading of the upper thoracic region.

Kyzernick said...

V-neck t-shirts are seen by some as effeminate. If this translates to sweaters, that's your answer. All my sweaters are crew neck, but they're all Christmas gifts. I've bought a lot of clothes, but never gotten myself a sweater - ever.

C Hopkins said...

What I see is v-neck sweaters going the way of golf shirts, worn over a white crew-neck T.

Scott said...

My partner, who is Black and 30, asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said a sweater. Now that I know that Black men don't like v-neck sweaters, I have a better idea of what he will get me, maybe.

This has been a rough year for both of us. I hope things will change for the better.

Bob Ellison said...

V-necks are for v-men. X-necks and Y-necks, say I.

Bryant Likes said...

Made me think of this
SNL short. http://vimeo.com/68421532 :)

ken in tx said...

I had a 7th grade student (white) who frequently wore V-Neck sweater vests. He was teased by other students as trying to look like a teacher. Teachers are not cool. Sorry Ann.

Been looking for you in Austin. We are about to leave for St. John's Christmas Eve children's service. The Church is on Ranch Road 2222.

chillblaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virgil xenophon said...

During my undergraduate days at LSU (62-66) it was about 50-50 between V-necks and Crew necks on Fraternity Row. Of course this was in the days when LSU was drug-free (relatively) and the "alternate lifestyle" look had yet to hove on the sociocultural scene.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I thought a v-neck sweater and white tee were the uniform of the day for Hipsters. Has something changed?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I like v-neck t-shirts but then again I am a lady. I like my neck to look longer, I like to wear pretty necklaces and I have nice skin on my upper chest.

Billy Oblivion said...

"""V-neck sweaters... are... square?"""

Yes.

""" thought a v-neck sweater and white tee were the uniform of the day for Hipsters. Has something changed?"""

Hipsters are square and trying to be ironic about it, but failing.

virgil xenophon said...

My generation only wore button-down Gant shirts underneath our V-necks and never with sports coats; only with slacks.

MadisonMan said...

At present I'm wearing a v-neck T-shirt, a 1-4 zip sweater, and a cardigan sweater over that. Multiple sweaters are key in my chilly house (I'll start a fire in the fireplace soon).

In contrast, at the mother-in-laws apt last night it was about 90 degrees and I was in a button-down longsleeve shirt, no sweater.